Mark Richt has been one of the most frequent occupants of the hot seat on the college football coaching carousel, but with Georgia winning the SEC East in 2011, the Bulldogs' head man earned a new contract. He finalized that contract with Georgia on Thursday, one that will keep him as the head coach in Athens through 2016 ... unless he wants to leave.
If Richt does choose to leave, he'll be free to do so without financial penalty. The new contract does not change his base salary, which remains just a bit over $2.8 million per year, but does not include a buyout clause, unlike his previous deal, which included a $2 million buyout payment to the school if he chose to leave.
That's a show of faith from the Georgia athletic department, which has heard Richt's name floated as a candidate for other jobs, and it comes with a reduction in the school's obligation to Richt should he be fired. If Georgia fires Richt in 2012, it will owe him "just" $4.8 million; if he is released thereafter, it will cost $2.4 million.